Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bill of Rights Day, December 15th

Bone up over here. And I kind of like this Wikipedia page too. I got to the first link from Wikipedia via their link from here to the article "What in the Constitution Cannot be Amended?" I looked up the Corwin Amendment because of a article about Lincoln.

To answer Linder's question, I'd say that if we can't amend anything in the Constitution, we are not truly free. I'm glad it's a pain in the butt to do it, though.

Of course, now, instead of going through the prescribed amendment process, our leaders - in our name - just reinterpret it to suit their fancies.

Oh, yeah! The Bill of Rights:
First Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Second Amendment – A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Third Amendment – No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Fourth Amendment – The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fifth Amendment – No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Sixth Amendment – In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Seventh Amendment – In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Eighth Amendment – Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Ninth Amendment – The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Tenth Amendment – The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Don Boudreaux

says, in Thoughts on Freedom ~ The Ideas of Liberty and FEE
But as with all products, liberty’s benefits are not fully obvious on first inspection. They must be explained, and explained in ways compelling to the hearer and not simply convenient for the messenger. Also, as with all products, the ideas of liberty have competitors, many of which are fraudulent and others of which are merely, if honestly, defective. These competing ideas—not in spite of, but often because of, their weaknesses—frequently find ready customers. The world is full of people too ready to believe that reality is optional or that this or that Great Man will save us from earthly evils.

Such crude beliefs are powerful, in part because they permit the uninformed to hope for outcomes that the informed know to be impossible. These beliefs are powerful also because they convince the uninformed that someone else—the Great Man, for example—will do the bulk of the work while all that ordinary people must do is to obey and await the imminent earthly paradise.

By themselves libraries stuffed with the finest research and scholarly advances are useless against the power of such beliefs. The distilled essence of these ideas of liberty must be part of mainstream thinking of ordinary people. Making sure that the ideas of liberty do get a fair hearing in the minds of ordinary people—and that people understand what benefits liberty holds for them and their children—requires skilled retailing.

Railing against the Sheeple and flaming everybody with a (slightly) different frame of reference won't get the job done.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I had one of those dreams again last night

about being chased around Duluth by foreign spies/assassins or whatever. They were Russians, I think, when I was a kid. Now they can't be... must be agents of KAOS. And I must be Maxwell Smart.

I was reading Econlog

when I kept running across this abbreviation, lgl. I'd seen that before, but had no idea what it meant, so I Googled it and came across this site. None of their abbreviations seemed to shed any light, so I arbitrarily decided he must mean "Lethal Giant Larvae."

I probably just have them on the brain. [AAAaaagghh! Get 'em off!]

Anyway, then I realized they were just the guy's initials.

Or...maybe he's one of them!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Wash your hands, people!! And cook your meat thoroughly!*

Don't let this happen to you! Don't make me force you to watch that video!

*Or your Kool-Aid, as Steve says.

On a happier note, I've got a couple new posts over on Bourgeois Philistine. Just don't make fun of the old 1MB camera, okay.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

OK, I've got a minute.

First, a WOD: architectonic - I'll take meaning #3 Philosophy. Of or relating to the scientific systematization of knowledge.

Talk about a 50 cent word! When I was in junior high (East Junior; grades 7-9), I had a tee shirt that said, "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull!" I judge architectonic to be a useful technical term that shouldn't wander into common, everyday conversation.

All right, it was used by a philosopher in a speech to philosophers... But don't let me catch you using it!

I'm going to hack off the bottom two thirds of that last paragraph I quoted. It started so promisingly I assumed he'd finish it with something marvelous. Instead, he wandered completely off the subject! Watch out for those jelly donuts, Dude, they screw up your thought processes.

[That's how I read so much, tef, I assume people are going to say what I expect them to and race on to the next thing. In this case the next thing was actually a pile of work to do. Oddly enough. ;)]

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A quote about reason

that I got here. I'll maybe talk about it more when I have a minute:
Within the architectonic assessment of his life, then, we should acquit Lewis of having failed to carry through the refutation of scientific materialism as a pervasive threat to our humanity; but so far as the Riddell lectures go, it is something that needs to be done, if man is not to be abolished, but is to be rehabilitated and restored. The argument he had adduced a year earlier, and laid out more fully in Miracles, needs itself to be revived, if Lewis's main purpose is to be achieved. That argument was a special case of a general line of attack on a philosopher arguing for an irrationalist position, that in arguing for it, he is appealing to a rationality whose existence he is seeking to deny. He is sawing off the branch on which he is sitting; his arguing belies the conclusion he is arguing for. The Marxists in my youth used to explain away my rejection of their views as merely the articulation of my class interest, but felt I was playing foul when I pointed out that they were espousing Marxism only because, as would- be apparatchiks, it was in their class interest to do so. Freud hit many of my contemporaries around the age of adolescence, and they had an easy task diagnosing all the neuroses and inhibitions that prevented me from acknowledging the truth of Freud's teaching, but did not like it when I counter-diagnosed them. They said, as did also the Marxists, that I ought to take their arguments seriously. But if arguments can be taken seriously, then we are not the completely irrational playthings of our class interests or childhood repressions, as they were claiming. If I can be argued with, I am not just the creature of circumstance, but a rational autonomous agent, altogether different from, and something more than, the account given by the ism in question.18 It is the same with Logical Positivism. I used to embarrass my tutor, after he had been propounding the Verification Principle---that every meaningful proposition must be either an analytic tautology or a synthetic truth founded on sense- experience---by asking into which class the Verification Principle itself fell, and then, after showing it could be accommodated in neither, concluding that it must itself bemeaningless too. It is the same with subjectivism. If the subjectivist opines that subjectivism is true, I thank him for the expression of his state of mind, and hope he feels better for having given vent to his opinion. When he then boils over and says that I ought to think likewise, I rub his nose in the non-subjectivity of that utterance.

Of course, in practice the argument usually goes on longer: it takes some dialectical skill to get hold of a philosopher's nose firmly enough to rub it in anything, even the folly of his own stated views. But the strategy of argument is clear. Suitably modified, it would apply to any world-view that made out man to be not in any way subject to reason.19 Although it would not prove that such a doctrine must be false or could not be held, it would show that it could not be argued for or rationally held, and the very fact that someone argued in its favour would be strong evidence that he did not really believe it. Lewis had here an argument by means of which he could obtain purchase on a radically different metaphysical system, and argue from both inside and outside it for its own untenability. Contrary to the teaching of Collingwood, metaphysics is not just the articulation of the absolute presuppositions of the age, and contrary to Kuhn's later account of paradigm shifts in science, there is room for rational debate about, and rational choice between, different over-arching views of reality, and our adoption of one rather than another is not just a matter of sociological happenstance---influential though sociological factors sometimes are---but can aspire to be guided by reason.
And finally a key feature in the dialectic against the proponent of Nothing-Buttery is the integration of theoretical and practical reason. People show their rationality primarily in what they do, and their engaging in the activity of arguing shows that they do not really believe that reason is impossible. Reason is being construed more widely than it was by Hume and his successors. It is not just deductive and inductive argument, but is shown whenever we argue about what we ought to do or believe. Lewis is inclined to take a narrower view. He takes, as we have seen, a low view of scientists, and fails to appreciate the extent to which they are moved by the disinterested desire for knowledge, by the intellectual love of God. Their theoretical reasonings are not just a calculation of means and ends, nor a completely separate activity unconnected with practical action, but something done for its own sake that informs their whole life and guides them in all their doing---a form of worship. Lewis's strictures were less than just, less than the truth. And once we recognise that there is not a fundamental divorce between theoretical and practical reasoning, but that they are all of a piece, and that the decisions about what to believe are like decisions about what to do, we are able to apply the self-referential argument, and argue from our activity in arguing about what the world is like to the falsity of those world-views which would deny our status as rational agents, capable of making up our minds for ourselves, and seeking what is reasonable and right. And in recognising the unity of thought and action, we return to the foundation of the Riddell Lectures, founded in memory of one who ``was active for the rest of his life in public affairs; a quiet philanthropist whose devout Christian faith was borne out by his concern for others''; and equally we are at home in Durham, where always on the peninsula the Cathedral and Castle have stood together, with a strong sense of the need for action if civilisation is to be sustained in the face of the barbarian invader, but an ever- present recognition that the values we seek to put into effect in our actions are values that are not the creations of our own wills, but derive their validity ultimately from God.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Richman -

Economic recovery from a recession can be unpleasant, but the fault lies with the government policies that distorted the economy in the first place. Once the distortion has occurred, the consequences cannot be wished away. Economic logic will avenge itself -- now or later. Better earlier, quicker, and milder than later, longer, and harsher.

Two key things should be kept in mind in understanding this matter. First, production must precede consumption. The idea that we can consume our way to prosperity is absurd. Imagine if Robinson Crusoe tried it.

The Goal Is Freedom: Save Us from Government Spending

What do you think? Should Krugman

head Treasury, Commerce or The Fed?

I'm not talking "in my ideal world" here. I'm talking about what is most likely to bring Keynesianism to total self-destruction. Let's see what Krugman can do with more rope.

My old buddy, call him "the Larson boy,"

when I worked for Elliot Meats in Duluth, made a habit of loudly announcing, whenever we entered a bar or sporting event (where there was mixed company), "AL's PACKIN' MEAT!!"

Of course, I sank into the floor when he did that. Never occurred to me to try to use that to my advantage when the gals asked what that was about.

Dumb kid.

The God of the Copybook Headings, by Kipling

is a wonder poetic statement of Natural Law. Thanks, Ken.

See the link in the same post I linked in the last post. I'd like to post the whole thing here, but I'm unwilling to bury my last post.

Oh, and I'm going to start reading Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos (only the title is in Latin).

Ken's got a post that I think people need to read

over at Oldsmoblogger. It's more clear if you follow the links as you come to them. They're all well worth reading and listening to.

The Patrick Henry player says, after his speech, "I'll do what I do! You do what you do!" The context makes clear that it's a powerful call to action. What can I do for the cause of Liberty?

Bill of Rights day is December 15. Insist on Bill of Rights enforcement.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Obama's only hope to pay for all the interventions he's promised,

or rather, hinted at, in particular, any hope of averting another Depression, is to pull American armed forces back within our borders. Ted Galen Carpenter doesn't offer much encouragement for that happening:
Although it is hard to imagine, Obama’s foreign policy could prove even worse than that of the Bush administration. He flirts with the notion that the guiding principal of U.S. foreign policy should be to promote, defend and enforce respect for “human dignity” in the world. As an operational concept, such a standard would have to improve several notches just to reach vacuous. At best, it would entail Washington becoming the nag of the planet, constantly hectoring other governments to improve their behavior. At worst, it could become an excuse for lavish foreign-aid expenditures and military interventions to protect the downtrodden in failed states or even in functioning countries with repressive regimes. Yet most of the probable arenas for such interventions entail little or no connection to America’s tangible interests. Instead, this country would embark on expensive and potentially dangerous humanitarian crusades that would bleed America’s armed forces and drain the treasury.

It will not be an improvement if an Obama administration withdraws American forces from Iraq only to launch new interventions in such strategically and economically irrelevant snake pits as Darfur and Burma. That is not the kind of foreign-policy change the American people want or need.

If President Obama adopts a security strategy confined to defending vital American interests, he will win—and deserve—the gratitude of the American people. If, on the other hand, he embraces a nebulous crusade to secure “human dignity” all over the world through the instruments of U.S. foreign aid and military power, he will undermine his own administration and ignite yet another round of public frustration about the unwillingness of political leaders to focus on America’s best interests and well-being. That is the fundamental choice facing President Obama as he enters the Oval Office.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I wonder if Obama has read

The Second Son, Charles Sailor.

Hell of a book! You should read it.

That thought came to me while I was reading the WSJ today. Henninger's Obama's Dour Vision and Lanny Davis' The Obama Realignment

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

America! You just elected the next Great Depression!

What are you going to do now?

"I'm going to Disneyland!" is what their saying. There are tons of examples.

I probably wouldn't have said the same thing if McCain had won. With him, we'd get the Great Depression and "perpetual war for perpetual peace." The economic views are Hoover-redux. Instead we'll be getting Roosevelt-redux.

On a positive note: America just elected its first black President!

No, I'll check again... Nope, the sarcasm switch is off. I am happy about that. Maybe we can move on now. Of course, nobody's economic lot will be improved (accept for the favored courtesans)...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Just waiting with bated breath.

The projections are BS. They don't have enough data to be precise much before now. I'm gonna go check things out right after I post this.

I voted.

I voted for Barr, just as I said. I discovered on the ballot that we had a Libertarian candidate running against Coleman and Franken. News to me. I voted for him. Then I voted for the Republican running for the US Rep in my district, Eric Paulson and, just because I'm in a monkeywrenching mood, I voted for the Green Party candidate for Statehouse. No LPers running in those races. I should have entered myself. Heck, maybe I should have written in myself.

I took the local judge and the state Supreme Court justice races seriously. I voted straight against the incumbents where they were opposed, and I voted for NOTA where they weren't. So, yeah, I voted for that Tingelstad guy I wrote about before.

The Hennepin County Park District Commissioner is actually a race where I knew something about the candidates. The incumbent is less of a commie than the opposition.

Water District Commissioner? Who knows? Vote against the incumbent.

Well, let's see how Robespierre's doing against Grampa Munster.

Update: I guess he's making his victory speech. McCain's conceded.

All my fault, I'm sure.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Greed vs Rational Self-Interest

OK, that title is a bit over-ambitious :) for what I've got for you here, but here's the seed for a more in-depth treatment, well, actually, this article, Black Swans, Butterflies, and the Economy is better than a seed:
The profit motive is a good thing when it operates in an environment where bad bets are punished with losses and good investments are rewarded. Only government can distort that healthy profit-and-loss system, giving people incentives to make bad decisions. And it's in this environment that greed is no good to anyone. It turns out, however, that greed -- or better, rational self-interest -- can help our economy stabilize faster than government ever could. As the lubricant of our economic system, self-interest will cause a million market actors to recalibrate and to direct resources to projects that create value in our society. We the people will temper our irrational urges and mitigate our risks if government restores the rules that let profit and loss bring discipline. But if government continues to change the rules to bias the market in favor of irrational behavior, rent-seeking, and corporatism, the chaotic aspects of the system will continue to wobble out of equilibrium. Black swans will become commonplace.

He explains "black swans" back in the second paragraph:
Nassim Nicholas Taleb is famous for introducing us to black swans. Though these rare creatures have long been used among academic philosophers to explain the shortcomings of reasoning by induction ("Every swan I've ever seen has been white, therefore all swans are white."), Taleb uses the black swan as a stark metaphor for the inevitability of highly improbable events. In other words, black swans are rare, but one will eventually swim by, even if you have to go to Australia to see it.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Raimondo, of, endorses Nader

He presents a pretty strong argument:
On the defining issue of the campaign – and the age – Nader is spot on: the bailout of the banks, he avers, “was clearly socialism bailing out capitalism.” Not that this version of capitalism has anything to do with authentically free enterprise: “This is the collapse of corporate capitalist ideology,” says Nader. “I emphasize corporate, because the only capitalism left now is small business. They’re the only ones who are free to go bankrupt.”

On foreign policy, Nader is the only consistent anti-interventionist in the race, or, at least, the only one who makes this an important part of his campaign. Unlike McCain and Obama, who both revel in baiting the Russian bear, Nader asks: “Why don’t we leave the Russians alone?” Why, he asks, are we provoking Moscow into another cold war? Obama, the candidate of the supposedly “antiwar” wing of the Democratic party, is pledged to usher Georgia as well as Ukraine into NATO – which the Russians view as an aggressive act. Both want anti-missile “defense” shields in place in Eastern and Central Europe – only Nader seems to understand that this is just a scam for enriching the military-industrial-congressional complex.

Nader is the Eugene Debs of our times: he is brave, intractably committed to principle, and disdainful of the limousine liberals and their “conservative” counterparts who grimace in maidenly horror at the sight and sounds of such truth-telling populism. Most importantly, Ralph Nader knows who are the real enemies of the American people, and what is the source of their power. He, alone, is serious about breaking that power. While I may disagree with some of his more socialistic proposals, and probably wouldn’t last very long at a Nader-for-President meeting before getting into it with his commie followers, I don’t know of anyone in American political life, at the moment, who has more genuine good old fashioned integrity. I also can’t think of anyone who annoys the limousine liberals and Obama-oids more–and since these folks are our future rulers, or so it seems, that is reason enough to cheer his campaign and his continued presence in public life.

I like the speech he made at the Ron Paul gathering. I may just go that way myself. Dump the Demopublicans.